Independence Day in Costa Rica

  I was looking through the Costa Rica Outsider archive and I was surprised to find that I'd not written anything about Costa Rican Independence Day yet. That's not a huge omission, I suppose, but it's worth mentioning since this is a blog about Costa Rica, after all. I guess this is my 10th Independence Day in Costa Rica! I came here at the end of August 2006, so even though I've just been here 9 years, the confounding math seems to add up to 10 Independence Days. I don't really even Read more [...]

Juan Santamaría: The Man, The Airport, The Legend

As I mentioned in my last post, last week was Easter break (called semana santa in Costa Rica), so we had the whole week free. That was pretty excellent, but it turns out that today is also a holiday: Juan Santamaría Day. The only downside is that it's not necessarily a free day at work for everyone, and we do have classes where I work because it's a private language school. Nevertheless, who was Juan Santamaría, and why is he considered Costa Rica's "national hero"? I'll admit that I didn't Read more [...]

“Holy Week”

Today is the first day of semana santa, or "holy week" in Costa Rica. Like most of Latin America, Costa Rica is Catholic, or at least ostensibly Catholic. In reality, whether a person is observant and goes to church really boils down to personal inclinations and familial traditions, but almost everyone is observant of one aspect semana santa: vacation! This week is possibly best described as a religious holiday tainted by a Spring Break ethos (or maybe even vice-versa). Most schools and public Read more [...]